The assault team sent into his hideout would only have accepted surrender if they could be sure he had nothing hidden under his clothing, meaning his fate was sealed as soon as he was found in his bedclothes.
The admission by John Brennan, the chief US counter-terrorism adviser, will add to the growing belief that the planners of Operation Geronimo had no real intention of taking the al-Qaeda leader alive.
Military analysts have said the tactics of the helicopter-borne attack on bin Laden?s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, bear all the hallmarks of a ?kill raid? as the noise of the approaching choppers virtually guaranteed a firefight which would justify shooting any targets.
And whilst Mr Brennan has previously said the US Navy Seal team that carried out the raid was ?able and prepared? to take bin Laden alive ?if we had the opportunity?, he has now admitted that there virtually no circumstances in which that would have been possible.
He said surrender was only an option if bin Laden ?did not pose any type of threat whatsoever? and if the Seals ?were confident of that in terms of his not having an IED (improvised explosive device) on his body, his not having some type of hidden weapon or whatever?.